Cleveland Browns Conference Calls

BROWNS HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI

Do you expect to see Troy Polamalu play this weekend?

I don't know. I am not sure. What do you guys expect?

We're not sure. That's why we are asking you.

I am not sure either. I tell you he makes a pretty big difference when he is in there. If he is there he is hard to deal with in so many different ways, whether it's the running game, blitzing, the disguise or the threat he is in terms of being able to create turnovers. So we are preparing like he is going to be, and we will see what happens.

If he doesn't play, will that almost surprise your team?

It's easier to go that direction than to go the other direction. It's a lot easier to deal with the looks when he's not in there as opposed to having two plans. That's a good problem to have.

Re: Colt McCoy's progress:

He's done a really good job throughout the course of the season. It was interesting to watch because he struggled when he was the third guy or fourth guy in training camp and didn't get the reps. That's understandable too because it's a new system, a new coaching staff. All the things that go into being a rookie, and then when he did get the opportunity he just embraced it, and he broke down the huddle his first time. And the guys kind of laughed a little bit but they appreciated the fact that he stepped in to assume that role. And the same thing the night before the game, I had him speak to the team a little bit. He said that the guys could count on him and that he's going to play well. It wasn't bravado. It wasn't him trying to convince us of that. It was sincere, and he's had a much easier time transitioning back into the role of being the man than he had with coming out of that role. And I think that's unique for a young guy. Each week we've been able to give him more and build on his experience, the game plans he's executed and it's been real progress. And he's done a nice job recognizing looks, giving checks, running the offense and I've been pleased with him.

Do you think you can run against the Steelers' defense?

I think a lot of people think they can run against the Steelers' defense. But they are, what are they, top-10 in 19 different defensive categories? They are outstanding against the run, whether it's just the front they are playing or whether they are blitzing it, they are able to do a good job against everybody. So when we do run the ball it's going to be a challenge.

Re: Finishing the season on a winning note:

It's important for us from a progress perspective and we're just going through the steps that most teams go through, learn how to work, learn how to compete, learn how to win and learn how to win consistently. We've won some games but we haven't been able to win consistently. And last week against Baltimore we played an outstanding team. This weekend is Pittsburgh, playing another outstanding team. It's a good way to finish the season. It's a great opportunity to play a team like this at this point of the season, especially with all the things Pittsburgh has in terms of playoffs and seeding and things like that. It's a great team that is highly motivated.

Re: Beating the Saints and Patriots but losing late to the Jets:

I think it is [where our season turned] in a sense that we've had opportunities in a lot of games after that. We won some of them and didn't others. But it goes back to the developing and growth that you go through with a group of guys, the team. It's understanding that you can play with anybody, and it's understanding that the level of preparation has to be the same week-in-and-week-out. And it's always impressed me how Pittsburgh is. The continuity they have, the consistency that they've had, and regardless of what the year is there are certain things that they believe in. And there are certain things that they do every single year, and it's a winning formula. And it's going to keep winning and I've always been impressed by the organization from that perspective.

Re: Mike Wallace:

He's, God he's fast. And he hurts you in a lot of different ways. He hurts you on the deep ball. He can catch and run. And there are not very many people if you line them up against Mike they are going to win a foot race. And that's huge. Then you have a guy like Ben Roethlisberger who has a strong, strong arm and can get the ball to him. And not only get to him in the plays the way that they are designed, but then he can buy some time and get it to him. And there's no throw that's out of his range. And he generates so many plays through his movement and pocket feel. It makes it difficult.

Are you surprised Wallace is not in the Pro Bowl?

The voting and things like that, sometimes it takes a couple of years to catch up with guys. I think he's played at arguably as high a level as anybody.

Re: Maurkice Pouncey making the Pro Bowl?

I think that is great. I think that it's really hard to a young guy to come in and play center or left tackle. And as the center you have the ball in your hands every play, and you have so much responsibility for coordinating the offensive line. And he's done it really well. The other thing I like about him is that he's been consistent and he's improved week-in-and-week-out. And I don't know him that well as a person, but just from the outside looking in, he's got to have a great work ethic. There's no doubt about that in my mind, because you don't make those strides without that. He's not doing that on talent alone. He's got to have a lot of the intangibles that are going to make him a special player for a long time.

BROWNS QUARTERBACK COLT MCCOY

Do you expect Troy Polamalu to play Sunday?

We expect that he will play. There's so many challenges when he's on the field. They're a tremendous defense and he has the capabilities of making plays across the field and all over the field. You've got to be accountable for where he is. Where he's lined up is not always going to be the place that he play on that down. He's a great playmaker and you've just got to know where he is at all times and be able to execute your offense.

What was it like making your NFL debut against the Steelers and why were you able to play so well?

Well I think there are things that I did well and things that I definitely learned from.  It wasn't good enough because we lost but at the same time I think I took a lot away from that game as far as having confidence in myself that I can play and that I can do this and I went against a great defense like them.  There's a lot of things.  I think for one, my teammates saw me and the way that I played and the way that I handled myself.  I just have to keep growing and keep getting better every day.  That is my goal.  I try to make as much progress as I can practice-to-practice, week-to-week and game-to-game.  I hope I never lose that attitude and that mentality.  I came a long way since that first game.  I feel like I am doing more, seeing more.  Last week, playing against defenses in this division is tough.  Baltimore has a great defensive scheme.  They have for years and they made more plays than we did.  This week we went back to work, went back to practice, we all got on the same page and we just have to really push ourselves and understand their scheme and their blitzes and their pressures.  If we can handle that, then I think we give ourselves a chance to win.

How close are you guys to breaking through and becoming a contender in this division?

Well hopefully we are close.  I think the one good thing, and again, I am just rookie and this is my first year here, but there are a lot of high character guys in this organization, in that locker room.  And there are a lot of guys that have the fire and desire to win.  We haven't got it done this season and it has stretched over the last four or five weeks that we haven't been able to find a way to win games and that is something we have to do down the stretch.  I think we are close.  I think we are real close.  We are thankful for one more opportunity in our place and in our stadium, to go out there and play and compete.  What a great opportunity in the Pittsburgh Steelers.  For me, individually, they are a great defense.  Tons of playmakers, very talented, great scheme, great coach and across the ball you have a guy like Ben Roethlisberger, who has been there and done it and has won Super Bowls and won this division over and over.  Just what a great opportunity it is to go out and compete and play.  That is how I look at it and I know there are a lot of guys on my team that look at it that way.  But after saying that, we are ready to win.  We need to win.  This town, this city, this organization, we need to turn it around.

Re: The fans needing the Browns to be good:

A lot of people say that and write that and talk about that.  We need to do better, our organization as a whole, our team, all of us.  We fight our tails off every week and we do.  There is not a guy in this locker room that quits or that doesn't want to win and doesn't work to win.  We practice hard every day.  It will turn around.  It will change.

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The Browns upset Pittsburgh late in the year last year.  Anybody talking about that game at all?

No, not really.  We know who Pittsburgh is and what they do and what is on the line for them.  We are excited about one last game at home for us.  That's how we look at it.  We really don't talk much about last year.

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Do you think there is more pressure on the Steelers knowing that they have to win this game to win the division?

I hadn't even thought about it.  I really haven't.  I know for us in our locker room we had a great practice today.  We worked hard.  We will be prepared for this game and we will go out there and play our hearts out and fight to the very end.

What would it mean for you guys to knock the Steelers off and potentially make their road in the playoffs much more difficult?

We look at it for our team and for our organization.  We prepare every week like we want to win and like we are going to win and like we expect to win.  This week, it's no different.  It is our last home game.  We realize we aren't making the playoffs.  We realize the opportunity that we have to play one more time at home and we are really looking forward to that.

Has this been tough coming from a program that is so use to winning and then dealing with a season where your team has lost ten games?

You can't compare it to college.  Our team in college was very successful.  We won a lot of games.  As a competitor, as a guy who has been on teams that have won, obviously this is my first year in the NFL and it is different, but yeah, winning is what drives me as a player.  It is what drives a lot of guys in this locker room. It is what we do.  We play to win.  When you have some setbacks and you lose some games, it gets frustrating and for me it just pushes me that much harder.  That is was fuels it.  You want to win.  You are a competitor.  It is going to get better.  That is for sure.

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